Earth Hour was celebrated last night with suitable enthusiasm in the inner-city municipality of Burchett Hill — indeed it is still being celebrated. The city council, dominated by the Greens Party, has voted to extend the occasion and rename it Earth Week.
"Switching off the power for only an hour smacks of tokenism," said the Mayor, Councillor Les Rhiannon. "We want people to get used to what a rational power policy would be like under a Greens government, a government that would pay our parent Earth the respect due to herm*."
Councillor Rhiannon said that council had "democratically removed the voluntary element, which had robbed previous Earth Hours of their full potential" and every household and business in the municipality was now obliged to switch off all electric power for a week "under pain of heavy financial sanctions, such as tripling of the rates for offenders."
Exemptions, however, were made for essential use of electricity in public facilities. These included hospitals (with the exception of St John of God Catholic Hospital), schools (with the exception of Burchett Hill C. of E. Grammar, Holy Souls in Purgatory Catholic School and Hallelujah Christian College) and libraries (with the exception of the Burchett Hill-Israel Friendship League Library). There are also exemptions for "special cases with particular needs".
Among the special-case exemptions:
The Marie Stopes "Downsize Your Family" Fertility Adjustment Clinic (formerly the Sir Truby King Infant Welfare Centre). "The importance of the surgical interventions carried out there cannot be overstated in an overcrowded world," explained Councillor Rhiannon when issuing the exemption (before, in fact, the clinic had made an application).
He added: "In a society where attractive personal presentation is increasingly instrumental in getting ahead in life, it would be a crime to interrupt – even for so urgent a cause as Earth Week — the clinic’s indispensable work in saving infants identified by prenatal scans as likely to be born less than satisfactorily presentable from the embarrassment they would encounter in later life."
The Nitschke Centre for Happy Farewells (on similar grounds of "essential activity").
The Blue Aegean Fish & Chip Palace, High Street, Burchett Hill (prop. Con Alitosis, brother of Ms Drusilla Alitosis, the Mayor’s "partner").
Private residence, 34 Ilse Koch Boulevard, Burchett Hill (home of Councillor L. Rhiannon and Ms D. Alitosis).
Saucy Girl Adult Escort Agency & Entertainment Suites ("sizzling hot chicks the way U like them"), Railway Place, Burchett Hill (exempted on special application of Platinum Loyalty Cardholder Councillor C. Thomson).
Dick Dill the Electronics Techxperts, Crass Square Shopping Plaza (environmentalist suppliers of hurricane lamps and candles by appointment to the Mayor and Council of Burchett Hill).
Get Your Bum on a Seat People’s Experimental Theatre (in the basement of the old abattoirs), currently presenting the fourteen-part Soviet Cycle by Eugeny Beria-Molotov (born 1889, shot 1936) in the original Russian. “To suspend a seminal masterpiece that has had such an influence on our Party would be tantamount to blasphemy," said Councillor Rhiannon.
Burchett Hill Experimental Wind Farm, Town Hall roof (permit for auxiliary motors).
Aboriginal Tent Embassy of the Tomanjeri People (Ambassador: Ernie Witchetty-Bromberg), Municipal Gardens, Burchett Hill (next to the Floral Clock).
Dreamland Receptions, Bandt Drive, Burchett Hill (exemption permit for Green Polyamorists Cocktail Party and Dinner-Dance Fundraiser).
Burchett Hill Mosque and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Memorial Institute for Studies in Connubial Chastisement (open 24 hours).
Exemptions refused include:
Burchett Hill Synagogue (council has instructed the power company to withdraw electricity supply permanently from this address).
The Uniting Church Day ‘n’ Night Homeless Drop-in Centre ("nothing going on there that can’t be done by candlelight and a primus stove for tea," said the Mayor).
Opposition from rank-and-file Greens to an exemption for the Burchett Hill Stock Exchange was overruled by Councillor Rhiannon and other Greens councillors as "detrimental" to their personal interests.
Councillor Rhiannon says that apart from "the negative reactions of a few of the usual bourgeois whingers, like shopkeepers, business and factory owners and other enemies of the people, Earth Week has been exceptionally well received, so much so, that your council will give serious consideration next time to making it Earth Month.
"After that," he added, "Can Earth Year be far away?"
*"Herm" is Burchett Hill’s officially endorsed non-sexist pronoun
Christopher Akehurst blogs at Argus